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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
From upstate New York, where the locals refer to their border area as “the backlands”, four-piece Waydown Wailers have a very strong blues and roots-rock sound right from the off on this CD, with the gritty no-nonsense blues of ‘Back Door Woman Blues’. ‘No Mercy’ is something of a southern rocker with a jam band feel, leading into the vintage sound of ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’, with echoes of both writer Larry Williams and The Beatles’ well-known cover. Other non-original songs are an impressive cover of Elmore James’ ‘Done Somebody Wrong’ and the slide guitar break and fills point the listener towards the originator, though they in no way copy his style, whilst the closing track, a psychedelia-tinged jam on Roger McGuinn’s ‘Lover Of The Bayou’ isn’t as quite out of left-field as it could have been, as the album had already moved away from a strict blues approach with the country-rock sound of ‘Somewhere In The Middle’, and ‘I’m On The Hunt’ shows a mid-60s rhythm and blues guitar band inspiration. Seven of the eight original songs are written by guitarist and lead singer David Parker and his guitarist brother Christian Parker, along with drummer Michael Scriminger, with the one exception adding guest keyboards player Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz (who produced the album too, a role he has also done for The Band) to the credits; for some reason bass player Connor Pelkey restricts his talents to playing. ‘State Of The Union - Remix’ is less than enthusiastic about the current state of the USA and is set to a pounding rhythm, with hints of up tempo country and reggae-styled interludes - well, these guys are Wailers too.
To sum up then, a fine modern roots-rock set with a strong knowledge of, and flair for, older styles. Very nice, in fact!
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